Cheese Cigars with beet greens

January 24, 2010  •  Category:


A quick version of a delicious but  time-consuming  recipe. I found these pre-cut sheets of a very thin, phyllo-like bread in the freezer section at the middle-easern store and grabbed them. They are imported from Turkey and evidently used in Turkish cuisine. In our cuisine, we have a pastry that is similar to phyllo, stuffed with a cheese mixture and deep-fried. Irresistible. These are baked and taste crispy and light, with a chewy and cheesy filling.

INGREDIENTS: To make 28 cigars (10 to 12  servings)

  • 1 package of cut-up turnover dough or a package of spring rolls, defrosted overnight; you can substitute phyllo sheets, but these have to be cut; there are 28 yufka leaves per package
  • 1 pound of shredded mozarella
  • 1 pound of feta cheese, desalted in a water bath several times
  • 1 onion chopped
  • Spices: 1 1/2 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 cup of blanched beet greens or spinach or swiss chard (optional) Traditionally, chopped parsley is used (about 1/2 cup) but I was not about to waste those beet greens I had!
  • 3 to 4 egg whites
  • 1/2  cup of clarified butter or vegetable oil

METHOD: Preheat the oven to 375F

  1. After blanching the beet greens, drain and squeeze all the moisture out. Chop coarsely.
  2. In a bowl, place the egg whites, cheeses, onion, spices, beet greens and mix well.
  3. Place a large sheet of aluminium foil on a work surface; pour a tablespoon of clarified butter and place the yufka on it, rubbing from side to side to coat the leaf with butter fast.
  4. Starting from the wide end, place a generous tablespoon of filling and roll it like a cigar. Don’t make it too tight, because the egg whites will cause them to expand a bit and puff up.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet previously greased and bake in a preheated oven for about  15 minutes until puffed up and golden.
  6. Enjoy immediately if possible! (to reheat, warm for two minutes in the oven)

TIP: These cigars can be prepared ahead and frozen up to two weeks.


24 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rachana Kothari says:

    mmmm…I wish I could have them now:) I love the first click.

  2. northshorewoman says:

    I like the substitution of beet tops. The only recipe I know for beet tops is one taught to me by an Egyptian man who lives in a small town way north in Ontario, where he is, yes, the only Arab for 100s of miles.

  3. Simi Mathew says:

    This looks so good….I am sure it is a complete melt-in-your-mouth dish. Cant wait to try it off as a starter at my next dinner.

  4. peter says:

    The baked version of cigars are just fine. Brush with some butter and they will pop out of the oven, nice & golden.

  5. Julie says:

    Miam, ça a l’air super bon avec le fromage fondu et la pâte croustillante, et plutôt rapide à réaliser, je sens que je vais tenter prochainement puisque tous les ingrédients sont trouvables ici!! Bises!

  6. The London Foodie says:

    I got these already made from a Turkish shop this weekend and was wondering today how i should cook them – deep fry or oven bake them. I will try the oven now, thanks. This is a really good recipe, I will be trying soon.

    We had our Syrian Supper this weekend using recipes from Kano’s Syrian Foodie in London and it was a tremendous success! Everyone loved the dishes, and they were not too difficult to prepare.

  7. oum mouncifrayan says:

    wawwww, ils sont trop gourmands ces cigares!!!! grand bravo

  8. Juliana says:

    Yummie, these cigars sure looks delicious, what a great way to serve as an appetizers 🙂

  9. Nadjibella says:

    Tes r’kakat sont magnifiquement bien réussies.

  10. farida says:

    This is my favorite kind of borek. Those dough triangles are big time savers, aren’t they. I like it that you baked them.They look so good!!!

  11. sabah says:

    Ils sont magnifiques, chez nous au Maroc, on les appelle Briwat car ils ont la forme d’un triangle.

  12. rajani@eatwritethink says:

    sooper yum 🙂 absolutely love the idea of stuffing with beet greens.

  13. dana says:

    Never seen egg whites used before for the filling. Interesting ingredient.

    You have inspired me with this recipe to make a simple supper of melted akkawi cheese with parsley and finely minced onion on white toast with hot tea.


  14. lisa @ dandysugar says:

    These look delicious! What a fantastic appetizer!

  15. TastyTrix says:

    These look absolutely addictive, I must go on the hunt for this pastry.

  16. Turkish Food Passion says:

    They look great. You’re very creative to use beet greens instead of parsley!

  17. Agnieszka says:

    Joumana, I absolutely love your blog. The food here is so yummy and authentic!! I’m totally crazy about Middle Eastern cuisine so I’m so happy I’ve found this site. Thank you very much for sharing so many lovely recipes. By the way – beet greens are popular in Poland (maybe some eastern influence in our kitchen), we make a nice cold soup with them called chłodnik.

  18. spice says:

    this is easy….I’ll look for these pastry sheets next time I go to international food store for grocerries…or otherwise I can try this with phyllo may be…

  19. Kate/Kajal says:

    These look like so much fun, would be great to serve at parties.

  20. Zalfa says:

    Salut Joumana!

    J’ai prepare les R’Kakat Bel Jebneh avec du persil pour l’anniversaire de Marcel. Ils ont eu beacoup de succes, toutes les copines ont demande la recette,ils etaient excellents! J’aime beaucoup ton site, je le consulte tous les jours, tu seras peut etre celle qui me poussera enfin a apprendre a cuisiner.Mon prochain essai: les sfeeha, miam miam!
    Bises de Singapour.

  21. domi says:

    C’est décider je me met au cigare…

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